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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tuesday Tip! Pandora Radio for Your Parenting Tool Box

If you haven't discovered Pandora Radio, you have to check it out! Or maybe you've used it for finding music for yourself, but not for children. I have found it to be a lifesaver when taking care of my grandchildren (yes, I like to play them music that is NOT mine!). Pandora is basically a free radio station you create by typing in a favorite artist, song, or genre. Pandora finds songs that are similar through an amazing process, and voila! You have a custom-made radio station. You can play it through your computer, on your smartphone or tablet (yes, there's an app for that!). If you have I-pod speakers, you can hook up these other devices through an auxiliary input. Check the back of your speakers. Most have an 1/8" input. You can purchase an 1/8" cable at Radio Shack.

I purchased a computer speaker set (bass speaker and small speakers) for $8 at my thrift store, and they are my main home speaker system. I just plug my I-pad or phone into them and I have great quality music for my little ones- and for me!

As I said, you can just create your station by putting in the title of a favorite song or artist. I put in "The Wiggles," and have been very happy with the songs Pandora selects for me. One more thing...
As each song plays, you have a choice to click on a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down." This helps Pandora fine-tune your station, steering you away from songs you don't like, and more toward those you do. It's amazing!
Having age appropriate music available throughout your day is a great way to help set a happy mood, especially during those high-stress times of day, like dinnertime! If there are songs you hear you want to own, you can also purchase them on the spot, or just bookmark them.You'll find yourself and your little ones singing along together- and making memories of happy times spent together Because that's what music does best!

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tuesday Tip: Just Sing!

Singing with your child is one of the most important things you can do as a parent or caregiver.. It builds relationships, early literacy, and will literally help to grow our baby's brain. But as our lives are invaded by more and more sound, simple singing is easier said than done! Whether it's the radio, television, computers and tablets, cell phone, or even a room full of noisy toys, it's understandably increasingly difficult to find the space in which to insert your own voice! One of the tips I give young parents in my workshops who are not in the habit of singing, is to have specific times of the day that are built into your schedule. To take this a step further, I have suggested songs everybody knows. Of course you can sing anything you like, but here's a good and simple starting place....

1. In the car: The Wheels on the Bus
2. While changing a diaper: ABC song
3. While making dinner, a snack, or other meal:: Row, Row, Row Your Boat
4. While going for a walk or even walking to the car: If You’re Happy and You Know It!
5. At bedtime: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

I talk to more and more parents who say they never sing with their children, so taking baby steps (no pun intended) may be the best plan.Singing is free, portable, and can instantly put everyone in a good mood. So just sing!